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 Post subject: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cape Town
My family are addicted to the Kruger National Park. :twisted: I make no excuses for our addiction - it is what it is. We go annually to the Park and did go in June last year again and we had the most stunning experiences as usual. BUT over the years I have read so much from forum members, Getaway, Go! and numerous other sources that KTP has a magic of its own. This is how I was happily caught into the most se-real place I have ever been. :dance: :dance:

In September we headed up to Namibia for a tour of the various desserts, ending our stay at the Ai-Ais. On our last night, relaxing in the hot water springs my hubby says in joke that we are so near to KTP we should give it a bash.

Now I am not one for to sit back on an opportunity like that! I dash into our room and get on line to see what is available. Alas all that there is are a couple camp sites. I return to the pool, very disappointed that I didn't think of this wonderful idea myself in the months before we left on this trip….. :hmz:

Then it hits me, Nicole why not camp. You can do it. My hubby says he is willing to stop in Upington for a night and grab some camping equipment and then we can go on our adventure. Bare in mind, we have two kids aged 5 and 3 in toe, who need to just go with this flow! :shock:

Well from the hook(an idea being born), the line (the dash to get supplies and equipment) and the sinker (the final decision that WHAT THE HECK, LET'S DO THIS THING!) we were drawn into the clutches of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This is my trip report of a last minute idea that became an adventure to remember forever.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Day 1 : 14 September 2009

After waking up pretty early we excitedly head for the nearest outdoor shop we can find. Here we had to buy a tent, mattresses, gas and so much stuff that I am pretty sure we will have to head back to Kgalagadi to get full value :) Hint Hint

Anyway after buying out the entire store we get on the road to KTP. We need to make good time so that we can reach Mata Mata by closing time. Ye-ha we are off! The kids are just about ready to wet themselves in excitement - truth be told, me too! So on goes Johnny Clegg to officially signal the beginning of our Dessert Safari!

After signing the essentials we head into the the park. What we saw was so different to the Kruger we had to double take. Different in a great way. It was the end of winter so you don't get much more dry than this. Dessert all around but animals still thriving. It was with great pleasure that our first sighting was the symbol of KTP the fantastic Gemsbok. There they kicking up dust and depicting everything that this park is famous for.


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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:17 pm 
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So far the day had promised to be full of adventure. I need to stop at this point and just mention one of the greatest thing about KTP is the Birds of Prey! Wow. I have always enjoyed watching birds but never have I seen them so beautiful, so huge and so close! After we saw the Gemsbok we drove a little further to a small watering hole where we saw this Bateleur Eagle and a Bateleur Juvenile. On the ground and taking flight. I was in awe of how close they were to us.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:50 pm 
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Well and truly on our way now, we were heading towards Mata Mata and keeping our eyes peeled. My two girls loved this Jackal sighting - it was the first time they could see one so close up and they kept wanting to "take him home" :)

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Not too much further we saw another Bird of Prey (not sure what kind this one is) take off from a drinking spot. :D
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Of course all along the way we saw Springbok chilling out. :whistle:
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The kids of course loved all the Squirrels along the road side. We spent a good while watching this guy run up and down exploring the area. Maybe his presence is the reason for all the Eagles?
:sniper:
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Not far from Mata Mata we found this group of Hyena. They were no more than 2 meters from the car and obviously did not mind us taking many, many, many photos! :cam:
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By now we were starting to worry that we were going to miss the gate time so we had to pick up the pace a bit when just as we came around the corner there were quite a few cars stopped. By Kgalagadi standards this was as close as what you to to a traffic jam(OK there were max 7 cars! :tongue: Nothing like the hordes we have come across at Kruger) We knew it was something big. Eager to see our first cat of the trip we were pretty sure it was lion. But we were in for a special treat - 3 x Cheetah! :thumbs_up:

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They were lying there for all to see. I could not believe it. Even the girls could see them and I was totally bowled over. Nobody cared about the gate time and after a while I was starting to worry we would miss the gate but at the same time this was not something you see everyday. The Cheetah eventually moved off and I thought we would be in for a real chase to make it in the gate but then I realized we were barely 3 km's from Mata Mata! What a way to end our first day in the park. That night was a total adventure with some EXTREME moth invasions :big_eyes: :big_eyes: but I need to get to bed now and I will have to tell you all about it tomorrow!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:46 pm 
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OK truth be told this was my first time camping in 7 years and the first time with the kids so it was with great expectation that we removed our new tent from it's packaging and got started with the set up. All credit to my hubby who had that tent figured out in a couple minutes and the tent itself was up within 45 mins. :lol: The kids were so excited they were hopping about. With the tent up and running it was time to get the fire started and the braai going. It was the most amazing evening. Boiling hot with a hint of rain in the air - a bit weird for this time of year but we thought nothing of it. :roll: While eating, our first moth visitor arrived. Now they are not my favorite insect but when this (an I am not lying) palm sized moth hit our lantern, the girls screamed. Ray got a bit annoyed that they were scared of a moth (they are girly girls!) and then another moth arrived….. :big_eyes:

Because it was getting dark and our lights were attracting them I thought I would rather take the girls for their baths, get them dressed and into the tent. It was a long day anyway and they were exhausted. As we walked up to the ablutions I should have realized something was up when I heard the occasional yell…. :hmz: Well I opened the door to the ablutions and it was like walking into a swarm. A plague of moths zipping around everywhere. If I could tell you how loud my eldest daughter screamed I would, lets just say I can still hear it in my ears! She bolted and ran out the door. The 3 year old froze in the ablutions - literally scared stiff! My instinct was to stop Courtney from running wild outside and of course as I turned around I forgot Emily in the ablutions. It took me a few seconds to realize that I had left my baby girl in a cauldron of flying moths, but I knew I had done it when the poor little thing started to cry her heart out. Now wishing I was Elastigirl (I could grab both and not have to move myself) I too was frozen. Where do I go? In the end I dashed back to the ablutions grabbed Emily who was now tucked under my arm like a rugby ball allowing me to run like Brian Habana headed for the try line in my attempt to speedily find Courtney. By this stage she was ducking and weaving through the entire campsite. I just had to follow the screams! If you know the KTP you know the joy of the silent nights. Now imagine how loud me and my brood must have sounded…… :redface: :redface:

Finally I managed to bundle them into our tent. Clothes and all they collapsed and fell asleep. By this stage the swarm had arrived. They hit the tent like hailstones. Poor Ray tried valiantly to wash the dishes but after nearly swallowing a couple moths he gave up on EXTREME dishwashing. As he came up to the tent he looked like he had long pants on, that is how many moths had landed on him. You couldn't make out his legs! The worst part is that as a moth landed they laid like a hundred eggs. So it was pretty gross. Anyway we were protected inside the tent and even though I nearly burst with the need to wee, I managed to make it through our first eventful night. Lying there listening to the sounds of moths dive-bombing our tent was a truly unique experience! :dance: :dance: :dance:

Our campsite
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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:00 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cape Town
Day 2: 15 September 2009

Thanks guys for all the encouragement.Yes, it was a crazy night but we survived and now the kids laugh about it and love sharing their story with their friends. When we zipped open the tent the next day it was like a moth holocaust outside. Everywhere you looked there were dead or dying moths. The squirrels and birds were in absolute paradise. Their "manna" had literally fallen from heaven. With the ablutions filled with dead moths we decided we would head on out for a drive and come back later for our showers! Hey if you going to do the camping thing you gotta be comfortable with your own body odor!

Our second day of adventure was about to begin and the first animals to be spotted were some wonderful birds of prey.

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It was a real challenge to get this photo but one of the great things about the KTP is the fact that you are forced to NOT rush. Time is your friend not your enemy and you really do feel like you have forever to do everything.

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Not much further on we saw a herd of wildebeest. I tried to photo graph this one's good side!

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Not nature's most handsome animal but still fascinating to watch.

Anyone with kids knows that they just love seeing the babies of any species and we were so fortunate to see so many youngsters. In this case it was twin Gemsbok!

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But the sighting of the day has got to be babies of another sort : CUBS! Cheetah cubs

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They were adorable and the mother was really beautiful. I couldn't believe that I had been here 2 days and seen cheetah on both days: Unreal!

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But it was time for this mom to get back to camp and clean her babies! Since we endured the attack of the moths the night before we decided that we would try and get the kids bathed really early and supper in their tummies before sunset in case the winged creatures returned. It turned out to be one of the most stunning nights ever. The kids were fast asleep by 19h00 and not a moth in sight! It was lovely to have some time to ourselves sipping whiskey around the fire just enjoying being out in the bush - our favorite place. It was a time to recharge and rethink priorities. And just to top the night off we had a winged visitor of another kind.

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What a place KTP was turning out to be. :)

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:17 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cape Town
Day 3 : 16 September 2009

This morning started like any typical day out here - with a beautiful sunrise.

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The dawn and dusk of each day is so beautiful and photos just can't capture how stunning they are. Not to far from camp we found two jackals playing with a pine cone. It was very special to watch because they were playing without a care in the world - like 2 puppies.

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Without a word of a lie not 500 meters later we found this awesome mating lion pair.
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Our first lion of the trip and it was well worth the wait. They were right by the cars - in between some of them too! Not too worried about anyone around them. He was huge and mean looking

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and she was beautiful.


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I have seen many lions over the years but there was something about her that really fascinated me.

We stayed with them for almost 4 hours because it was just so special. The girls were so excited and since there was some mating action we were asked MANY questions! It turned out to be educational in more than one way. How many parents can say that they get to teach their kids about the birds and the bees with the help of "live lion mating action" Great to be a South African!

Here are some of the photos of the "courtship"

Mating
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This is exhausting stuff :)

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and this one speaks a 1000 words..…
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Morning sickness already? :)
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Finally, because of immense hunger in the car and the need for the toilet, we had to head to the nearest picnic spot to grab a bite to eat. What a morning!

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On our way back to Mata Mata we were saw the same pair again with the rest of the pride now in full view about a 100 meters away.

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Some gorgeous young males with the promise of a bright future.

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These lions in the Kgalagadi are really the cream of the crop. They are truly fine specimens of their species. Bigger than any other lions I have ever seen and really in brilliant condition.

But our wonderful day was not over yet. The female Cheetah and her cubs came down for a drink just as we were headed back to camp.

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I still can't believe the amount of Cheetah we have seen. And just before we got back to camp (and it did worry this mom a little to see one so close to camp :( ) we saw a snake making his way across the road.

I assume this is a puff adder ?

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The day started with an amazing sunrise and didn't disappoint with the sunset either!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:02 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Day 4 : 17 September 2009

It is with great sadness that I begin the final day or our trip. :( After packing up all the camping gear we hopped in the car and headed towards TR. I don't know how many there are in KTP but these were our first giraffe of the trip. I was amazed at how much lighter the giraffe in KTP are compare to KNP.

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As we headed down toward the drinking hole we spotted some young male lions on the move.
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They had a real hungry look about them and were definitely stalking the animals coming down to drink. These were the potential victims..… :big_eyes:

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Unfortunately you could tell their inexperience and soon the wildebeest realized that they were possibly on the menu and high tallied it out of there. :sniper:

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Very exciting to watch even though we didn't see a kill it was wonderful to be part of the build up. It was fantastic to see these brothers in action and we were just saying to each other in the car that they would make an awesome coalition of male lions when the time came and they are ready to challenge for the rights of a pride :hmz:

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They spent at least ten minutes drinking and looking around for any more "victims". :roll:

As we headed to TR for our final night we were surprised with one last Cheetah sighting :) :dance: :dance:

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It was appropriate that Kgalagadi said goodbye to us with another cat. The other spotted cat (Leopard) eluded us but we have to save something for next time :wink:

Our last night was in a lovely bungalow in TR.

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We were sad to have our last braai in KTP but while sitting around that fire we promised that we would return as soon as we can - and yes despite the moth invasion the girls want to do it in a tent again! :thumbs_up:

It is with "pee-in-my-pants" excitement that we arranged a camping trip up to KTP in April. This time better planning has allowed for a few nights in Nossob too! See you soon my desert paradise! :D

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Hook, Line and Sinker
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everybody. I really enjoyed writing the report. It brought back so many great memories. I am so thrilled to be going in April and cant wait to get back there.

I am such a lucky girl because I get to go there in April and Kruger in Aug/Sept! The camping in Kgalagadi has made me take action on my dream to Hike Olifants Back Trail. So we are going with some of our best friends on another whirlwind adventure!

Any tips? :hmz:

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